Sgt John hn MinneryMC, DCM, MM

A presentation by Gerry Carroll (formerly of Cromdale)

Hosted by the Grantown Society

March 16th 2018  Grant Arms Hotel.

* Whilst this is not a regular Grantown Society meeting, as the topic is not strictly based in and around Grantown as our constitution states, it is very relevant.  Sgt Minnery was in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders whose recruitment was mostly in Glasgow, there were at least six members of this regiment who came from the Strath and who were killed in conflict.  This talk is an unusually personal account of one man’s war and his valour.

An extract from

John's fortunes are inextricably linked with two regiments and two theatres of war : The 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on the Western Front in World War One and with the 6th Battalion Kings African Rifles (Tanganyika) in Tanganyika and Somalia.  

He joined the army in 1912 aged 17 (though the army thought he was 18 the minimum age at that time).  

Landing in France in 1914, seven days after war was declared on August 4th, he experienced his first action at the battle of Le Cateau, France where he was wounded badly enough to be shipped home to Blighty for two months.  

On his return to France he remained in the ranks winning the DCM in 1915.  He was then posted to the Officer Cadet Training School in France in 1916 passing out as a 2nd Lieutenant before his promotion to Lieutenant, then a Captain, before becoming a Colonel by the end of his military career.   Following his promotion to an officer, he continued his battle experience on the Western Front and in 1916 won the Military Medal.


I have spent many hours reading the War Diary of the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  This is a handwritten journal kept by the commanding officer of the Battalion from August 5th 1914 through until the end of the war.  Every day of that conflict has an entry recalling the activities of John's Battalion.  From receiving their Orders to "Mobilize". through arriving in France, their first actions against the Germans, the details of life in trenches, what went on during periods behind the lines, the Christmas Truce 1914, the first use of gas in 1915, endless casualties and deaths and, finally, the armistice the War Diary makes for fascinating, sorrowful and exciting reading.

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